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Late Model open practice Thursday at South Boston Speedway

Due to persistent rain showers throughout the day Friday and the threat of more rain on Saturday, South Boston Speedway officials cancelled Saturday’s Open Practice and Media Day event. As a result, track officials have scheduled an open practice for only NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division drivers on Thursday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Registration and pit gates will open Thursday at 9 a.m.

Thursday’s open practice will serve as a prelude to this weekend’s season-opening event, the NASCAR Whelen Late Model 300 presented by Danville Toyota.

The event, the longest and richest NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division event of the season, had, for a number of years, served as the track’s final event of the season.

This season, though, the 300-lap,120-mile race which pays $10,000 to the winner, will serve as South Boston Speedway’s season-opening race.

In addition, the NASCAR Whelen Late Model 300 presented by Danville Toyota will serve as the first event in the new Virginia Late Model Triple Crown, which will also include a July event at Langley Speedway and the October Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 300 at Martinsville Speedway.

The driver who accumulates the most points in those three races will receive a $5,000 bonus, with payouts included for the second-place and third-place drivers in the series.

Official activity surrounding the NASCAR Whelen Late Model 300 presented by Danville Toyota will kick off Friday with practice from 12:45 p.m. until 2:45 p.m. Qualifying time trials to determine the top 15 starting positions for Saturday’s 300-lap feature race will be held Friday at 4 p.m.

Grandstands will open Saturday at 11 a.m., with a series of 25-lap qualifying races to fill out the remainder of the starting field scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m.

The 300-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car Division race is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Entries for the event continue to arrive each day. Among the early entrants are defending NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion and defending South Boston Speedway Champion Philip Morris of Ruckersville, last fall’s 300 race runner-up C.E. Falk III of Virginia Beach, and South Boston-area drivers Bruce Anderson and Austin Thaxton.

Dennis Holdren of Roanoke, Dustin Storm of Huntingtown, Md., Darrell Gilchrist of Raleigh, N.C., Ronald Hill of Rougemont, N.C., Derrick Lancaster of Christiansburg, Dude Gibbs of Yorktown and Ryan Robertson of Winston-Salem, N.C. are also among the early entrants.

A total of 17 events are scheduled at America’s Hometown Track in 2012 and season tickets for all of the exciting action in the upcoming season are currently on sale and priced at only $150.